PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city's Bayside neighborhood has long been eyed for redevelopment as city leaders sought to replace rundown factories and scrap metal yards with a vibrant urban community.
With many of the scrap yards and lots now sitting vacant, developers have been working on plans to redevelop the area, but a group of residents is concerned a project proposed by the Federated Companies is too big and could change the character of the city.
"Portland is going to become 'Anywhere USA'," exclaimed Tim Paradis, a member of Keep Portland Livable. "We think that Bayside can be developed in a way that is much more consonant with other neighborhoods in Portland."
Federated Companies has proposed building a mix of housing and retail space in three phases with four fourteen story towers and two large parking garages. All told the project could have roughly 100,000 square feet of retail space and about 600 market rate apartments with parking for 1100 cars.
"This development is bad," stated Peter Monro, another member of Keep Portland Livable. "It will deaden the neighborhood. It will have a ripple effect and will make it difficult to develop around because of the winds, and the shade, and the wall of buildings that nobody wants to be next to."
Project manager, Greg Shinberg, says the price of the land and the work they will have to do to redevelop the parcel requires them to think big.
"There are folks that would only accept the project if it were five or six stories high, and that is just not economically viable," said Shinberg.
Steve Hirshon, president of the Bayside Neighborhood Association, says the project fits in with their vision and master plan to redevelop Bayside.
"If you look around, there are a lot of large buildings," said Hirshon. "There is Back Bay Tower, there is Franklin Tower, there is the Intermed building, so there is a number of large buildings in the area."
"The site where the developer wants to build is pretty much a blank slate," he added. "There is an opportunity to do something new and different."